In the early 1960’s Ogden Lindsley developed a four step procedure for performance management that involved:
Pinpointing (see Behaviour – Results Orientated) is defining accurate behaviours and results for measurement.
Remember that you should pinpoint the results first and the behaviours to achieve them second.
Recording is the reliable measurement of the observed behaviours and results.
The odd word ‘consequate’ was termed by Lindsley to indicate the consequences for following the behaviours.
The evaluation of the results comes next which is not strictly feedback.
Based upon the systems we have been discussing a more appropriate model might be:
In this method after measuring we have a system of feedback that is designed to provide information to allow the individual to see a trend in their performance. Positive reinforcement is then used continuously to maintain behaviour.
Finally, results are evaluated to see if the identified behaviours are achieving the desired results.
Using this sort of model can only work if all of the steps are rigorously enforced.
The individual steps can not stand alone.
You want the motivation of managers to introduce this system which is a behaviour in itself, so positively reinforce these actions constantly to encourage implementation.
There is no such thing as a problem that is too complex for such a technique.
The problem here is that the behaviours needed to reach a particular result probably haven’t been well defined or pinpointed.
You can not measure the effect of anything unless you know where you started from.
For any behaviour study you must first measure a baseline performance.
Without this you won’t be able to tell if any of your modified behaviours improve the situation or make it worse.
If you are not getting the desired results then this may be a factor of how you are trying to reinforce the correct behaviour.
If modifying a consequence does not encourage the correct behaviour (increase in rate or frequency) to improve the result, it may well be that the behaviour itself needs better definition (pinpointing).
There are a variety of experimental designs that can be used.
This ‘is the suck it and see’ approach. That is you decide you want improvement so you try a set of conditions which will hopefully modify the outcome to give an improved result. If it doesn’t, just try again.
It’s fairly obvious that the limited merit of this procedure is speed of implementation.
However, this is more than offset by very poor interpretation of any results as there is no baseline with which to make a comparison.
Here we carry out some baseline measurement on the current performance (experiment ‘A’) and follow this with the experiment containing what ever intervention you have decided to try.
It is often not seen as definitive that a positive improvement should be due to the intervention.
Many would site other factors that would just as easily explain the results.
In this situation you carry out the experiment to measure current performance as a baseline.
Then you carry out the experiment using appropriate intervention.
You then go back to the old system without the intervention to see if the result returns to the previous performance level.
This appears to be the better design but does have its issues.
In practice, if you are achieving success there may be little incentive to go back to the old performance levels by going back to a baseline measurement.
By carrying out multiple ‘AB’ designs at different times you can adjust your intervention until you maximise the desired result.
Misinterpretation of results can reduce motivation if you make wrong assumptions.